sun 24/03/2019

DVD: Beware of Mr Baker | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Beware of Mr. Baker

DVD: Beware of Mr. Baker

Portrait of a human so grotesque that even Hogarth couldn’t have conjured him up

Mr. Baker (left) with director Jay Bulger

Few real-life subjects of a film would allow themselves to be seen in the way Ginger Baker is in Beware of Mr. Baker. He’s violent, bullying, self obsessed, a control freak, irresponsible, sexist, foul-mouthed and harbours decades-long grudges. Since he doesn't appear to be ill, it's difficult to ascribe his behaviour to forces beyond his control. He does, though, love animals and is a legendary drummer. So that’s all right then. Not only is Beware of Mr. Baker a testament to director Jay Bulger’s tenacity, it’s a portrait of a human so grotesque that even William Hogarth couldn’t have conjured him up.

It is, of course, in Baker’s interest to propagate his persona, a manifestation gone into at length in his 2010 autbiography Hellraiser. It’s all he’s got these days. Despite the reunion, Cream are long gone. So are his pioneering forays into the music of West Africa. The Baker in Beware of Mr. Baker is reluctant to drum and, within his gated South African property with its stables, apparently penniless. He gripes about songwriting royalties, his former Cream bandmate Jack Bruce and virtually everything else. Numerous talking heads are seen, some relevant, some pointless (the drummer from Rush?). John Lydon appears, yet the fact that he brought Baker into Public Image Ltd isn't mentioned. Eric Clapton recounts that Baker bulldozed his way into his post-Cream outfit Blind Faith, and found it impossible to say he wasn’t wanted in the new band. Baker even terrorised those he was collaborating with. His son’s testimony is utterly depressing.

Beware of Mr. Baker takes time to bed in. The animated sequences are initially irritating and distracting, but soon bind with the whole. It also takes a while to get used to Baker, a man who has spent the majority of his adult life being a monster – given license to be so by being repeatedly allowed to behave as he wished. It worked, so he continued doing it. With its freak show allure, Beware of Mr. Baker enthrals. The only extra on the DVD is the film’s trailer.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog 

Watch Ginger Baker and director Jay Bulger discussing Beware of Mr. Baker

 

Baker even terrorised those he was collaborating with

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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